The buried guy was casually talking to him the whole time. It wasn't an emergency. People who aren't exposed to high stress every day seem to believe that you function better when you freak the fuck out but it's very easy to stay calm and take your time. I also wouldn't start hacking away with a metal shovel if my buddy was safely able to breath and calmly communicate with me.
The big mistake was dropping the gloves. They could see him in the snow, he had time to take the gloves with him so he wouldn't have to try to work with a frozen metal shovel with his bare hands. Just slowed down the process in the end. The guy wasn't far away, they could have gone down one at a time in about 30 total seconds and said "oh, no big deal dude we'll get you out."
Just playing devil's advocate because this is already turning into a classic skier "I took an avy class once and in hindsight I'm a fucking champ at rescues" thread.
"For me, my family, my friends and skiing, that is for me. That's my life. The joy I get from skiing... that's worth dying for." - CR Johnson
Slope Style Ski Shop, Main Street Breckenridge